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Breed Profile | Chow Chow Dog

Could the Chow Chow Be the Perfect Match for You?  

If you’re looking for a loyal canine companion with a proud, independent spirit, then the chow chow might be the right breed for you! Keep reading to find out more about this magnificent breed.

Breed Snapshot

  • Size: Medium-sized dog (23 – 34 kg)
  • Coat: Double coat that requires plenty of grooming. These dogs are also heavy seasonal shedders.
  • Energy: Laid back. These dogs requires about 20 minutes of exercise a day.
  • Lifespan: 9 – 15 years
  • Country of origin: China
  • Breed type: A member of the utility group. These dogs are aloof and suspicious of strangers, but they can make excellent companions for the right people.
  • Other names: Chow
  • Great breed for:  Apartment living or home with a yard, Single people and families with older children


What is a Chow Chow?

The chow chow is thought to be one of the oldest dog breeds. A Chinese emperor was said to have kept over 2,500 pairs of the breed as his hunting companions. The breed was also used extensively to guard possessions and pull sleds. Sadly, the beautiful chow chow also became a delicacy and was frequently served at the table.

These dogs may look like cuddly teddy bears, but they are not keen on being hugged and fussed over. Good training will help to integrate them into family life. 


What do Chow Chows look like?

The chow chow has a square appearance with characteristically post-like straight legs that give it a somewhat stilted gait. It has a squashed face, broad skull, erect ears, and a tail that curls over the back. The dog’s facial wrinkles are obscured by hair, and the tongue is blue-black in colour. The chow chow stands at around 43.1 to 50.8 cm and weighs between 23 and 34 kg.  The chow chow’s coat comes in two varieties: smooth and rough, and the colour can be either black, blue, cinnamon, cream, or red.


What makes the Chow Chow special?

The chow chow has a unique appearance and independent spirit. The breed is also known for its unusual blue-black tongue that, according to a Chinese legend, was developed when a chow chow licked up drops of paint when the sky was being painted.


How often do I need to groom my Chow Chow?

The chow chow’s grooming needs depend on the coat type. The rough-coated type will require daily grooming to remove tangles from the coat. The smooth-coated variety, on the other hand, will only require grooming about once a week. Attention should also be given to the folds of skin on the face and around the eyes, as the thick coat can retain dirt and debris that, if not removed, could cause infections in these areas.


How often should I walk my Chow Chow?

Chow chows only need around twenty minutes of exercise a day, and then they are happy to relax indoors. They are best kept indoors during hot weather, as they do not tolerate high temperatures well. Chow chows do not make great running or cycling partners due to their characteristically straight legs.  It is also a good idea to provide your chow chow with some strength and muscle building exercises. These exercises will help to prevent injuries by keeping their joints and muscles strong.


How do I train my Chow Chow?

Chow chows require early socialisation to ensure that they can get along well with people and other animals. Training can be difficult with some chow chows, as they do have a tendency to be stubborn and territorial. Chow chows can make great companions if they are trained well, but they are more likely to bond better with one person in the household rather than the whole family. Check out pet training classes at


Quickfire chow chow questions

How long will my chow chow live?

Chow chows can be expected to live for around 9 – 15 years.


Can my chow chow be left alone during the day?

Chow chows are a quiet and independent breed that is fine being left home alone.


Are chow chows ‘barkers’?

Chow chows are fairly quiet dogs and don’t tend to bark much at all.


What kind of health risks do chow chows face?

Chow chows are generally a healthy breed, but they can suffer from several health conditions, such as entropian and hip dysplasia.


Where can I get a Chow Chow?

If you have now decided that the chow chow is the breed for you, it is time to decide where to get one from. Make sure that any dog you buy is healthy and free from genetic diseases. Avoid buying from pet shops and puppy mills, and always make sure that you find reputable breeders that can introduce you to the puppy’s parents – this will enable you to gauge its temperament and personality.

Chow chows often end up in rescue centres because people buy them without a clear understanding of what goes into owning the breed. Be sure to check out the RSPCA website that will provide more details on how to adopt a puppy or dog.


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